Jaded Eagles held to a goalless draw
By Andrew Ang on 9 June 2014
Geylang International were held to a goalless draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium by a resilient Courts Young Lions just 48 hours after a hard fought victory over defending champions Tampines Rovers. Both teams had good chances to break the deadlock but were unable to apply the final touches to sweeping moves.
The Eagles came into the fixture buoyed by decent results, claiming consecutive victories over Woodlands Wellington and Tampines Roves. However, with a gruelling battle having been won just two days earlier, it was always going to be an uphill battle trying to force a way past a plucky Courts Young Lions squad who were arguably fresher given that they last played in the league 17 days ago.
In a half of very little chances, Geylang International enjoyed a vast majority of the possession. The first shot on target came in the 17th minute when Aliff Shafaein received the ball just outside the box and steered an effort towards goal. The Young Lions custodian, Rudy Khairullah was on hand to tip the ball over his bar.
The best chance of the half also went the way of the Eagles. After an initial ball was hoisted clear by the home side, Yuki Ichikawa swung in a beautifully timed cross to find an unmarked Kento Fukuda. When it seemed a certain goal, Rudy leapt towards Kento and unsettle the Japanese defender just as he was about to head the ball in for a goal.
Leonel Felice was next to test Rudy. Facing the goal from an acute angle, the Argentinian hit one with confidence but once again it was the custodian who emerged with a save to turn it round the post.
The Young Lions had been warned and from there, chances were few and far between for both teams as the referee blew for the half time interval.
The second half was a more enjoyable encounter as both teams went for the kill in search of that all elusive goal.
Hamqammal Shah was unlucky to have been brought off as an injury meant that Jalal Jasim took his place. Hafiz Nor was also brought to replace Aliff Shafaein who turned in yet another hardworking performance.
Meanwhile, the Rudy show continued at the Jalan Besar Stadium. Khairulnizam Jumahat swung in a peach of a cross attempting to find a fellow Geylang player. Kento Fukuda rose highest to power a header towards goal but somehow Rudy thwarted the attempt. The Young Lions cleared their lines and frustration was evident on the Eagles’ bench as they looked to make one last change.
The change came in the form of young stalwart Fuad Ramli. The 20 year old made his first league appearance of the season, coming on for Captain Ridhuan Muhammad. The prime league midfielder was tasked to help Eagles get the all-important goal.
But it was at the other end where perhaps the moment of the match transpired. Shameer Aziq broke down the right flank and crossed in for Sahil Suhaimi to apply the finish, but Siddiq Durimi was on hand to produce a stupendous save somehow saving from point blank.
As the clock ticked down, there was one last chance for the Eagles to spurn and crucially it was their best chance. Leonel Felice seemed to muster all power left in him as he forced his way past two defenders before squaring for Hafiz Nor. But somehow the latter failed to connect with the ball, sending it over the bar with the goal gaping.
The referee blew for the final whistle and the Eagles had squandered a chance to grab a third consecutive victory.
Speaking to EAGLES TV post-match was head coach Jorg Steinebrunner and he rued the chance to grab all three points and felt playing a match 48 hours after their last encounter had taken the toll on his players. He said: “I have to congratulate the team for the effort and work rate because it is not easy to come here 48 hours later and play Young Lions just after an intense game against Tampines.”
He continued: “We wanted to win the game. We were the more active team, had more shots, more possession and more passing sequences and credit to the boys for that.”